The Slow Boat from Laos to Thailand 


Arrive at the boat dock after a short tuktuk journey then spend nice hours relaxing on the boat. The boat is wooden and rustic with no glass windows allowing you to enjoy the fresh country air and hear the sounds of the river. It’s worth taking some food with you as there is a limited amount to buy onboard.

The countryside in Laos is absolutely stunning. It’s green, lush and wild. For the most part you’ll be gazing at limestone formations and forest. Throughout the journey the boat will stop at small villages to unload cargo. Children run down the banks to see what’s going on and to smile curiously at you.

You’ll arrive to a hive of activity – loading and unloading of boats and people waiting to take you to the guest houses. As it’s such a small town wherever you stay you’ll be close enough to restaurants and shops.


Another day of gliding on the river to Houayxay, right on the Thai boarder. Houayxay is larger than Pak Beng with more choice of restaurants and things to do. The boat arrives at about 5:30 – 6pm. Stay overnight at the Little Hostel which only has eight guests a night $6. If you get a tuk tuk ask them to take you to Bar How next door. Walk a little out of the main area to treat yourself to a massage at the Red Cross. If you have time, head out on the incredible Gibbon Experience set in the forest surrounding Pak Beng.


Cross the boarder to Chiang Khong, Thailand via the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. You can take the bus to Chiang Rai or continue further to Chiang Mai. From here onwards the landscape shifts between open countryside to urban life.

This trip can be done in reverse which takes less time as you’re travelling with the current. I’ve heard is really busy – think as many people as possible packed on the boat – whereas travelling from Laos you’ll have space and only a handful of people on board.

Visited November 2016
Little Amy Tours @littleamytours

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